Forensic findings by a psychiatrist and psychologist from Serbia-Montenegro, where Vladimir Kovacevic is currently hospitalized, show that he is now able to enter his plea on the counts for the shelling of Dubrovnik and to follow his trial. Prosecutors reiterate their request that the case be Referred to the courts in Serbia-Montenegro

Vladimir Kovacevic Vladimir Kovacevic "Rambo" in the courtroom

Vladimir Kovacevic a/k/a Rambo – declared temporarily unfit to stand trial eight months ago and institutionalized in a psychiatric institution in Belgrade – is now fit for trial, the prosecutors note, quoting most recent medical findings.

A forensic report prepared by a psychiatrist and psychologist from Serbia-Montenegro was submitted on 18 January 2005 to the prosecution and a special Trial Chamber that will be ruling on the application for the referral of Kovacevic’s case to national courts.

In early January, this Chamber sought the opinion of the prosecution as to how to proceed if Kovacevic’s temporary incompetence turns into permanent one, asking if the prosecution would be prepared to withdraw the indictment or let Serbia-Montenegro decide on whether to try a person who is not competent to enter a plea on the charges and to cooperate with his defense lawyers.

After the most recent medical report, the prosecutors consider “that the questions posed by the Trial Chamber no loger arise,” and ask that the Chamber make its ruling on the application for the referra “on the basis that the accused is fit for trial.”

The former commander of the 3rd Battalion of the JNA Trebinje Brigade is charged with the shelling of Dubrovnik in December 1991. The indictment included his superior officers, General Pavle Strugar, who commanded the JNA Dubrovnik operation and was sentenced to 9 years in prison, and Admiral Miodrag Jokic, former commander of the 9th Naval Sector who pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 7 years in prison. Since Kovacevic is an accused of “medium rank” and since his superior officers have already been tried before the Tribunal for the same crime, the prosecutors suggest that Kovacevic’s case be referred to Serbia-Monte Negro.

At the last status conference before his hospitalization, Kovacevic announced that, once he recovered and returned to The Hague, he would tell the whole truth about the events in Dubrovnik December 1991.